Where was this when I decided to go to graduate school?

Readers! I know many of you are currently weighing difficult life decisions. I hope you will make use of the amazing web tool I wrote about today on Slate, Something Pop, which helps you quantify your priorities.

It’s getting to be the end of the semester, and I have been feeling really maudlin about quitting teaching. I already turned down all the classes that were offered to me this fall (all two, but still! Two!), so I can’t un-make that decision, but if it’d been posed to me this week I probably would have said “yes.” I am totally terrified of not being a professor anymore. I have been self-identifying as a “writer and consultant” for the past six months or so, and it feels good, but a huge part of me still wants to be a professor–still (yes I’m about to use the L word) loves it. So I needed to put that “love” in perspective. Something Pop gave me that perspective: IT IS IN MY BEST INTEREST, for real, to go 100% freelance next year, and I now feel better and less terrified about that decision than I ever have. Don’t take my word for it, though; try it for yourself!

12 thoughts on “Where was this when I decided to go to graduate school?

  1. Ironically, your blazing presence online may now contribute to making you MORE marketable in academia.If nothing else, any program that hired you would be pretty sure you wouldn’t badmouth them online.But the serious reason is that you’re talented and people will be realizing what a catch you are. I hope you revisit the academic job market next year, since you clearly love the teaching.


  2. Really, if you got an academic job now, so many fullprof heads would explode that all those TT jobs people have been saying are just round the corner since the 80s would finally materialize. Make that wave of retirements a reality!


  3. The new full-time-freelancing lifestage sounds fun, exciting and the right thing to try out. I hope it works out as you want and look forward to more stories. Up and onward!


    • Thanks. I’m so scared right now! I have all of my accounting spreadsheeted out, but I’m still terrified I won’t make enough money. On the other hand I so wish that W would go freelance too, so we could move ;).


      • Your post did…but I have not tried the “pop decision” feature. All I know is my priorities: 60% salary PLEASE , 20% may it be a somewhat interesting job, 20% nice coworkers (I cannot deal with more cattiness, gossip, back stabbing–and between working in academia and having had an ill fated brief stint in an attorney’s office a few years back all I can say is: I don’t want negativity and nastiness…I just don’t). All the rest is set: I don’t need to move anywhere–happy as a (poor) clam. SHOW ME THE MONEY. 🙂


  4. Oh noooo, I’m having a really hard time deciding whether or not to move this year, and this told me not moving is the best option. That’s precisely the problem – not moving is *way* more affordable, the obvious easy path, and would allow me to teach (and thus get at least grad student moneys, instead of potentially being unemployed for a year). It just means staying tied to my grad institution for another year, while my poor spouse commutes 2 hours each way. At some level, rational decisions based on money still can be deeply unsatisfying life decisions.

    Also, it’s really hard quantifying your priorities numerically that way! I’m not even sure if I did it right, when they’re competing it seems very arbitrary to pick numbers. That seems like where the hard work is. Neat idea, though.


      • Possibly. I know emotionally, I most want both of us to be living & working in the same city (where his job is), but I have no idea how we’re going to make that work financially. It might just be a rough transition year with no perfect answer.


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